If Republican Congressional candidates hope to avoid disaster in 2020, they need to learn from what went wrong two years ago. In the 2018 midterm catastrophe that gave the House to Nancy Pelosi, the GOP had no problem in mobilizing conservatives. In a year of record turnouts, self-described conservatives comprised 36% of the electorate – a higher percentage than Trump’s victory year of 2016. Moreover, those 2018 conservatives backed GOP Congressional candidates in even higher percentages than Trump received from conservatives two years earlier. So how did they lose?
Self-identified moderates – 37% of the electorate – went Democratic by a staggering 26-point margin, more than double the edge they gave Hillary in 2016, resulting in the appalling loss of 41 GOP seats.
Unless Republicans do much better appealing to the one-third of voters who consider themselves moderate or centrist, they’ll lose the House again in 2020, and probably the Senate and White House as well.